Men's basketball cruises to 29-point win at Cal Lutheran

Nkosi Cooper '23 (Josh McKee photo)
Nkosi Cooper '23 (Josh McKee photo)

Hamilton College took the lead with a big run midway through the first half and the Continentals went on to a 97-68 non-conference win against the California Lutheran University Kingsmen at Cal Lutheran's Gilbert Arena on Friday night.

Hamilton has opened with six straight wins for the third straight season. The Continentals shot 61.3 percent (38-62) from the field and are shooting at a 48.2 percent clip for the season. Hamilton is averaging 91.8 points per game and hasn't scored fewer than 83 in any of its six contests thus far. The Continentals enjoyed a commanding 46-17 advantage on the glass and finished with 26 second-chance points to just two for the Kingsmen.

Cal Lutheran (1-4 overall) came out hot but ended up just 4 of 15 from 3-point range and 18-for-31 at the free-throw line. The Kingsmen led by as many as 10 points midway through the first half.

Hamilton's Kena Gilmour '20 scored a team-high 18 points and became the ninth player in team history to reach 1,500 for a career. Mark Lutz '20 nailed three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points to go along with two blocked shots. Conner Rood '23 and Patrick Mogan '23 chipped in 10 points apiece and contributed to the Continentals' 50 from the bench. Mogan also led Hamilton with eight rebounds. Nkosi Cooper '23 handed out four assists and leads the team with 4.0 per game.

Carlton Brown paced Cal Lutheran with 17 points and Connor Cole added 12 points and four boards. Palmer Chaplin recorded 10 points and three steals and Miles Houston dished out three assists.

The Kingsmen made seven of their first 11 shots as they jumped out to a 19-9 advantage with 12:13 left in the first half, but from that point on it was all Continentals. Hamilton responded with a 16-3 run and the Continentals led the rest of the night.

Nick Osarenren '22 kicked off the spurt with three points and Mogan made two free throws and added a layup. Mogan struck again with an offensive rebound and putback and Cooper drove in for a layup that pulled Hamilton within one at 21-20. Cooper penetrated into the paint for another basket and a 22-21 edge before Cal Lutheran tied the score for the third and final time on a free throw by Houston. On the Continentals' next possession, Spencer Kendall '21 grabbed an offensive rebound and found Lutz for a 3-pointer that put Hamilton up 25-22 with 7:36 remaining in the half.

A jumper by Brown cut the Kingsmen's deficit to four points at 30-26 with 5:47 to go. The Continentals scored the next seven points and took their first double-digit lead. Gilmour made a basket from close range and passed to Rood for a 3-pointer. Vince Conn '21 sank two free throws and Hamilton was up 37-26 with 3:24 left.

Cal Lutheran didn't get closer than nine points the rest of the way. The Continentals took a 45-32 lead into the break after Mogan grabbed an offensive board and beat the halftime buzzer with a layup. Mogan scored eight of his 10 points in the opening 20 minutes and Chaplin had all 10 of his in the first half.

Hamilton led by double digits the entire second half. A trifecta by Gilmour gave the Continentals their first 20-point cushion at 65-44 with 13:21 remaining, and a shot from long range by Rood handed Hamilton its largest advantage of 33 points at 84-51 with 7:08 to go.

The Continentals return to New York but remain on the road in Oneonta for another non-conference game at Hartwick College on Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. The contest is part of a Hamilton-Hartwick doubleheader as the women are scheduled to start at 5:30.